Three Columbus Artists Talk Creative Inspiration For Poetry And Music

Apr 25, 2018

Two poets and a composer walk into a radio studio. Nope, not the setup for a silly joke — but instead for an intriguing conversation among local artists about creating art.

Monday afternoon Columbus composer Jacob Reed and Thomas Worthington High School student poet Nat Hickman joined me in the Classical 101 studios for a conversation about writing poetry and music inspired by poetry.

For the upcoming world premieres of Reed’s three new orchestral songs, he set poems by 13th-century Persian poet Rumi, Hickman and me to the works, as part of The Poet’s Song — a new music commissioning project funded by the Johnstone Fund for New Music, the Worthington Education Foundation and Worthington’s McConnell Arts Center.

The McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Antoine Clark, and soprano Chelsea Hart Melcher premiere Reed's new music at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29 in the MAC's Bronwyn Theatre.

Sunday’s program, "The Words Beneath the Sound," also features the world premiere of a work for voice and orchestra by Columbus composer Christopher Weait, William Walton’s Façade Suite No. 2 (to poems by Edith Sitwell) and, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of its world premiere, Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale.

In addition to serving as the concert's guest poet, I'll narrate the texts in the Walton and a text adaptation I wrote for the Stravinsky as part of The Poet's Song.

During our conversation, Reed talked about his inspiration for The Poet's Song and how the many dimensions of his project have brought together students and faculty of the Worthington City Schools, staff of the McConnell Arts Center and members of the Worthington community.

One aspect of the project was a poetry contest open to students at Thomas Worthington High School. As winner of that contest, Hickman was awarded the opportunity to have his poem “As Seen By Them” set to music by Reed.

Hickman also read the full text of his prize-winning poem during our discussion, and he, Reed and I talked about our creative processes for writing poetry and composing music inspired by poetry.

The McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra and soprano Chelsea Hart Melcher premiere Jacob Reed's three new orchestral songs at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29 in the arts center's Bronwyn TheatreAntoine Clark conducts, and Jennifer Hambrick narrates the texts in Walton’s Façade Suite No. 2 and her adaptation of the text of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale.